Earlier on today my ears pricked up when I heard Liam Byrne make the following claim in his question about the shambles unfolding around the implementation of universal credit to Iain Duncan Smith:
To hit your deadline at the end of 2017, you must now move over 200,000 people a month on to the new system. That is a city the size of Derby.
Sadly for Liam Byrne, his mathematical abilities don’t seem to have improved much since he was dumped out of office at the last election, leaving behind the now infamous “no money left” note for David Laws.
For the record, Derby’s population in 2011 was recorded as being 248,752 – a mere 24.5% more than he suggested. Current estimates suggest that it could be nearer to 255,000. And yes, I do realise he said “over 200,000” … but 24.5% is a pretty big margin of error by anyone’s standards on such a relatively small and easily researched number.
Perhaps he would have been better advised to choose Luton (2011 population recorded as being 203,200) instead.